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If you’re just bought a new home, perhaps for the first time, you’re probably on a pretty tight budget. Luckily, there are some things you can do to start saving money immediately. Here are 7 things that will reduce the energy and maintenance costs of your home over the long haul. You’re welcome!

1. Lower the temperature on your hot water heater down to 55 degrees Celsius (120 degrees Fahrenheit).

This is the optimum temperature for your hot water heater. Most people don’t use water hotter than 55 degrees, and if you have it hotter it could burn you or a child. The energy needed to keep the water above 55 degrees is basically a waste because 99% of the time you will be mixing in cold water anyway. So, lower the temperature, save money on your energy bill, and you’ll be laughing.

2. Install a programmable thermostat – and learn how to use it.

A programmable thermostat allows you to schedule automatic increases and decreases in your home’s temperature, saving money on cooling in the summer and heating in the winter.

They’re easy to install and easy to use, especially if you keep a fairly routine schedule. Just program the thermostat to drop a few degrees at night while you’re sleeping or off at work during the day, and set it to return to your preferred temperature just before you wake up or return home from work. You’ll be more comfortable and you’ll certainly notice the difference on your electricity bill!

3. Install energy saving light bulbs, like LEDs!

LED bulbs can save you a lot of money on energy use over the long haul, plus they have much longer lives than normal incandescent bulbs, making them well worth the upfront investment. Consider installing some in areas where you keep the lights on for long periods, such sas in the kitchen and living room. LEDs are much cheaper than they used to be and use a tiny fraction of the energy of old light bulbs.

4. Choose energy efficient appliances, even if you have to pay more up front.

If you’re buying some new, big appliances, now is the perfect time to invest in energy efficient models. This will seriously decrease the cost you have to pay on electricity bills over time, even if initially it will cost a bit more. If you think about it, a refrigerator can easily last 20 years. That’s quite a commitment – and one you want to work well for you!

5. Set up your home electronics with Smart Plugs

Looking forward to getting your television, cable box, DVD player, sound system, and video game console set up? When you do it, set things up with a Smart Plug you to can track how much standby power they are using and switch them off from your phone, from anywhere. Turning off standby power from devices you’re not using can save a lot of money over time, especially since many such devices eat quite a bit of power as they sit unused, constantly draining your money.

6. Plant shade trees near your house.

Mother nature can help you save significantly on your summer cooling costs — and heating costs in winter, too. If you plant deciduous trees — the kind that lose their leaves in autumn — you’ll really notice a difference.

The leafy shade trees will naturally cool your home during the hot summer months by reducing the amount of direct sunlight that hits your house. In the winter, they’ll lose their leaves, allowing that same sunlight to stream through your windows and heat up the home a bit more. Just don’t plant there where they will shade your solar panels (if you have some or plan to get some).

7. Start tracking your energy use

It usually not until your electricity bill arrives that you know how much energy you’ve been using. If you start tracking your energy use from the start, you can take steps to lower your usage wherever possible. Homes that have an energy management system, like carbonTRACK, enjoy bills up to 30% lower than others. This is because carbonTRACK homes can pinpoint the energy guzzlers in their home (from air con to washing machines) and takes steps to cut costs.

If you’re interested in tracking the electricity in your home, get carbonTRACK.